Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"The Willows" by Algernon Blackwood

Again, technically yesterday's short story, but once again midterms are getting the better of me. On the bright side, I'm really proud of myself for keeping up with my short stories, even if i miss the daily deadline by just a couple hours (usually, but the weekend was a studying-related fluke).

On to tonight's review, for Blackwood's "The Willows". By far the longest short story in this collection, weighing in at 40 pages. Hence another reason why it's well past the midnight deadline. ANYWAY.

Well done, Mr. Blackwood. Well done. I am sufficiently creeped out, and it's in large part due to the fact that I read a scary story at 4 in the morning. The two best parts about this story are a) the personification of the willows and the river, and b) the fact that you never truly know who or what the monster is. It just IS, and it's this non-description that truly sends a chill up my spine. Plus, apparently we were expecting a storm tonight, and the wind and rain began about halfway through this story. I still have goosebumps, and won't be going to sleep tonight.

Personifying inanimate objects always gives me a chill, and for Blackwood to do so in such a magnificent way really sends the message home that there is a separate entity on the island our narrator and his companion find themselves on. Whether it's an ancient god, or elemental spirits, they're there. And they're not happy at having human visitors.

Like I said though, I'm legitimately not sleeping tonight. Something about not ever reading a description of a monster in a story really gets to me (supposedly proof that I have a functional, and sometimes incredibly overactive, imagination), and there are just so many different terrifying monster/supernatural characteristics flying through my head. THAT'S what I was looking for with these scary stories. The adrenaline rush, the thrill of being scared.. that's what this month is all about. I highly recommend "The Willows", as well as a movie with similar characteristics (iconically, The Amityville Horror, famous for never revealing the demon/monster in the house). I'm going to attempt to calm myself, seeing as I have midterms in just about 11 hours.

- Justin

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